MINNEAPOLIS- Minnesota will be without one of its seniors for the foreseeable future.
Head coach Don Lucia confirmed that senior center Travis Boyd (Washington Capitals) would miss a month with a lower body injury. Boyd missed the final five minutes of Friday's 4-1 loss at St. Cloud State after a blocked shot and collision during the third period.
He didn't dress in Saturday's 4-3 overtime win at Mariucci Arena. Instead, sophomore Vinni Lettieri took his place on a line with Connor Reilly and Seth Ambroz (Columbus Blue Jackets).
Sophomore Justin Kloos, who finished a hat trick with the overtime winner, took Boyd's role on the first power play unit and scored the game's first goal.
"He's obviously a good senior leader," Kloos said following Saturday's game about losing Boyd, who has 5 points (3G-2A) in 5 games. "He's had a good year for us on the penalty kill and power play; all facets of the game. I think everyone had to step up and it was good that we were able to get up today."
The timeline would have Boyd ready for Big Ten play when it begins December 5 in East Lansing.
Boyd wasn't the only Gopher injured in this weekend's series split against St. Cloud State. Junior defenseman Brady Skjei is "day to day" with a lower body injury.
The 2012 New York Rangers first round pick was checked in the section between the bench and plexiglass late in the first period. He left Saturday's game with 8:52 remaining in the 2nd period following an awkward collision on the ice.
Skjei didn't return save for testing out his skating during a TV timeout later in the second period.
These injuries open up chances for others. Minnesota only had five defensemen for the latter part of Saturday's game, meaning freshmen Ryan Collins (Columbus) and Steve Johnson (Los Angeles Kings) were forced into bigger roles. Minnesota also has sophomore Jake Bischoff (New York Islanders) and freshman Jack Glover (Winnipeg Jets) on defense if Skjei can't go.
Bischoff played in Friday's loss while Glover sat out both games this weekend.
Offensively, Boyd's departure leaves a hole in the top-9. Lucia mentioned Connor Reilly - dealing with an upper body injury of his own that cut down on ice time early - and Lettieri as players who he would like to see step in that role during even strength situations.
Lucia said that was especially true for Vinni's role being elevated.
"He's going to be in a top-9 forward spot and we need guys like that to get more offensively for us," Minnesota's head coach added.
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate